North Stonington names new superintendent
North Stonington — The Board of Education last week appointed Troy C. Hopkins, who serves as principal and assistant superintendent of Ashford School, as its next superintendent. His appointment is effective July 1, and he's replacing retiring Superintendent Peter Nero.
Hopkins, 55, said in a news release the district sent Wednesday that he is "eager to advise the North Stonington Board of Education and develop productive relationships with town organizations and the community so that we stay coordinated in improving the learning experience of our youngest residents."
A Rhode Island native, Hopkins received his bachelor's degree in biological sciences from the University of Connecticut and then taught at a private residential school. He began his career in public education at Harwich High School on Cape Cod, where he taught science for 14 years.
During that time, Hopkins got a master's degree in teaching from Bridgewater State College and a master's in educational leadership from Salem State College.
He then moved to Coventry, Conn., where he served as assistant principal of Captain Nathan Hale Middle School, then principal of Coventry High School and then principal of G.H. Robertson Intermediate School.
Just after finishing UConn's Executive Leadership Program, Hopkins started working in Ashford's kindergarten through eighth grade school in 2012.
"I believe that if we have high expectations for all students, then all of them can learn at high levels," he says on the Ashford School website. "However, the ways through which each student achieves these expectations may be different. Every person, child and adult, has strengths that should be nurtured and shared with others as we all learn from one another. I am a strong advocate for the arts, sports, and other learning opportunities."
The Connecticut Association of Schools named him Elementary Principal of the Year in 2018.
Garrett Dukette, then the assistant principal of Ashford School, nominated Hopkins. The Hartford Courant reported that he said, "Leadership is about raising others up and supporting them in their own leadership. This epitomizes Troy — he supports our teaching staff in their goals and plans, works with them, and ensures that they are recognized by parents, peers, and community."
North Stonington Board of Education Chair Christine Wagner said in the news release that the board took the search very seriously, starting soon after learning that Nero would be retiring after 10 years as superintendent of the district.
"We listened carefully to our stakeholders who participated in focus groups and a survey," she said. "We spread the net wide in our search for candidates and were impressed with the caliber of our applicants. Troy rose to the top, given his breadth and depth of knowledge, curiosity, energy, sense of humor, and thoughtfulness."
Mary Broderick of CABE Search Services guided the board in its search process.
Nero said that when his contract was due three years ago, he told the board he would work one more contract of three years and retire in June 2022, which he made public in February.
"This is 47 years for me; that's a long time," Nero, 70, said of his career in public education. He came to North Stonington after serving as superintendent in Cranston, R.I., arriving in North Stonington as there was talk about closing the high school. But in 2019, after many years of discussion and two referendums, the new Wheeler Middle/High School opened.
"He's walking into a great situation," Nero said of Hopkins, and noted that he's been meeting with his administrators to make sure the transition is seamless.